After a frustrating result against Portland in Week 3, the Chicago Red Stars will return home to Toyota Park to try and collect a win against Houston Dash. The Dash are looking to build on their win last week over Washington Spirit. And while Chicago isn’t panicking, it’d be nice to have a solid win to along with all that pretty soccer they’ve been playing.
Where we last saw them
Similar to their season opener in 2016, Chicago opened the 2017 NWSL season against the Dash in Houston. The 2-0 result, while disappointing, wasn’t entirely a wasted outcome. It saw head coach Rory Dames adjust his lineups for the following weeks, which pushed Julie Ertz up higher as an attacking mid for Chicago, while Samantha Johnson beasts it on the backline with Katie Naughton.
Check out the highlights here.
You can run, but you can’t Dash
While it’s still early enough for teams to feel like their season isn’t lost, most still want to remain competitive enough to mix up the table. With losses against Houston and Portland, they currently sit in the top four of league standings. And while a team can’t necessarily lose a season this early, a team like Chicago doesn’t want to those same games to bite them at seasons end when things like possible tiebreakers could come into play.
This match will be Lifetime’s featured game of the week. It will be the second-time Chicago is featured in four weeks, and the first time they will be playing hosts. While head coach Rory Dames has his team in the right mind set of attacking a new match week by week, there’s no place like sweet home Chicago and cable network TV to help you get back on your feet.
Starting lineup we hope to see
Keys To The Match
Contain Ohai and Daly
Since week 1, Kealia Ohai and Rachel Daly have only grown in their chemistry. Both forwards scored in the opening game. Besides the strong forward core of NC Courage, there are some other NWSL teams out there that wouldn’t mind if they had these two strikers, complete with home run goal celebrations and all. With both scoring on the pitch, Houston remains an early season spoiler. Arin Gilliland got a work out when she was assigned the task of tracking Ohai in week 1. She and the rest of the backline will want to disrupt these two as much as possible.
No Brian? No Lloyd. No problems. It’s all Brooks
With Morgan Brian sidelined at the moment with an MCL sprain, and Carli Lloyd currently in Europe with Manchester City, the Dash midfield MVP is Amber Brooks. Doing much of the ground work for Houston, it might be a different scenario in Chicago this time. Now with Ertz unofficially a staple in the mid now, there is a different feel to how the Red Stars develop their run of play, and how they disrupt it. Brooks should be a focal point for Chicago in the middle third, and final third.
Scoring once or twice would be nice
So here we are in week 4, and as blessed as Chicago fans have been with Christen Press and Sofia Huerta, there has been only one goal accounted for in the Red Stars the last three weeks from Julie Ertz. While many are still excited at the Santa Clara connection with Huerta and Ertz, it’d be nice to see the Red Stars score more than one goal in a run of play. While Chicago’s attack is showing they’re good at exposing opposing center backs (Hi, Portland), it won’t be easy if Lydia Williams is in the net for Houston.
How To Watch
Chicago v Houston will kick off in Toyota Park at 3pm CT and is Lifetime’s NWSL Game of the Week this Saturday. Fans who wish to watch can check their local cable listings for the Lifetime network. The Lifetime app is also compatible with various cable providers. Unable to watch live? All NWSL games will be available for viewing on the NWSL website 48 hours after airing live.
Who do you want to see score for Chicago this weekend? Will Rory Dames change his lineup again? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!